So on my trip to the commissary today, I literally had an epiphany. You know, like a frigging light bulb went off and exploded above my head. Jay (my husband) and I have been telling friends and family since we moved to Virginia that Lilyann became the "Navy brat". We thought for sure that we could avoid it, that our sweet and silly little girl wouldn't turn into an uncontrollably rude human being. But, sure enough the tantrums and random outbursts ensued. It wasn't till today that I actually took the time to think this through. I believe have come up with a cause for this condition known as the "navy brat"....
I heard a man yell for his son a few times, trying to get his attention about something. So, when I hear an aggravated response of "oh-my-god! WHAT DAD?!" I look up from my carefully written out shopping list and see this somber looking man ask his son, "Do you like this kind of soda?" (It was a 12 pack for $0.99!). His son rolls his eyes, sighs, and loudly replies "I dooooon't caaaaaaare daaad god!!!" At that point, I had accidentally dropped my coupons. I was shocked!
Now, you may be thinking "oh HELL NO my child will never act that way." or "That man is doing it to himself." But, for all you know he just got back from a deployment and has no clue what his kid likes. It boils down to this: There are two sides to this. The parents, and the child(ren). Now, we all know how hard it is to deal with a brat. (Obviously) BUT, we do NOT realize that our little brat is trying to cope with living an 'abnormal' lifestyle. In our case, Lilyann was taken away from a sense of security and the only real friend she's ever had that she can remember. Instead of realizing she was having a hard time with the move we chalked it up to her having 'terrible twos' a little late.
Looking back on it now, my child was hurting, and I was too busy to notice. Sure, an out of state move is hectic and your children have no choice but to endure it till you settle again. The problem is, no child can decipher for themselves how having their entire life uprooted effects them. Especially not a younger child; and while yes, it would be fantastic if our kids could just say "hey mom, I miss my friend Sophia. This blows." But, that's not very realistic now is it?
So, be your little one's guardian. Love, protect them and REALLY listen to what they have to say. Take their fears seriously (yes, even monsters under the bed) and BE THERE for them. In their eyes YOU are still there, YOU will always be there, YOU are his/her best friend. The best part is your child automatically trusts you. Do not break that trust be making yourself too busy to care about what's going on in their life. After all, it's a life that you created. It makes sense for you to care and nurture it. Right?
Now, I have a challenge for you. The next time your child is acting out, being the "typical brat", PLEASE do not just react. THINK first. I too have caught myself getting easily frustrated with my daughter, and at times my husband but I am challenging myself to be a better person and the "think before you act" policy really does go a long way. Think to yourself, what would be the smartest thing to do in this situation? Most importantly, how would I feel if the tables were turned? How would I like the pillar in my life to respond to me when I'm upset about something?
This may seem like a lot to think about before reacting at all, but I GUARANTEE that if you do this you'll have a lot less chaos in your life. After all, what does a child do besides mimic their parents? Set a good example, just like your teachers told you to in school. Turns out they knew what they were talking about after all.